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12 Steps to Edit a Resume and Perfect Your Application 

Author —
Astley
August 27, 2021

Finished drafting your resume? 

Good job if you’ve created and managed to complete a full draft. Often, getting started with resume writing and getting into a good momentum tends to be the hardest part. However, it’s not meant to be perfect. It just needs to be complete.

Once you’ve completed a draft, then you can get to perfecting your application. In this guide, we’ll be covering how to edit a resume step-by-step.

Is a Resume The Same As A CV?

CV vs resume – there are a few subtle differences, one being the location. 

In the US it’s more commonly referred to as a resume whereas, in the UK and some other countries, it’s referred to more as a CV. Also, resumes are usually one page long whereas a CV tends to be longer as it goes further back into your employment history and background. 

But, both terms usually refer to the same thing, which is the main job document used for making applications.

How Can I Make My Resume Attractive?

There are several resume tips and resume do’s and don’ts for making an attractive resume that will get noticed by your hiring manager. 

To create a powerful resume though, you’ll need to include a couple of things. 

That goes from the visual ATS resume format to the writing itself in your application. In terms of the format, this includes:

Don’t use paragraphs to describe each section. Use bullet points instead to get straight to the point and make it more readable for your recruiter. 

What Should I Put On My Resume For Editing?

We mentioned that there are different things with what to put on a resume for editing.

The first to consider is the formatting options for your resume, which includes key elements such as:

  • Type of resume format
  • Resume margins and spacing
  • Resume file type
  • Resume design
  • One-page resumes

When it comes to editing the resume writing, this includes:

  • Resume spelling and proofreading
  • ATS resume keywords
  • Resume action verbs
  • Resume buzzwords
  • Active and passive voice
  • Achievements and data
  • Personalization

Resume Format Editing Process

Editing your resume is not so different from when you update your resume. 

However, the small difference is that the main focus is to perfect your application for the specific job posting you’re applying for. Whereas, the main focus of updating your resume is to revamp and add new things to ensure your resume is up to date for a career change. 

For editing your resume format, there are a few things to consider to ensure you beat the applicant tracking system and reach your hiring manager. 

We’ll go through each of these in detail below.

1. Type of Resume Format

The type of resume you can create include:

  • Chronological resume
  • Combination resume
  • Functional resume

Whichever you choose, they need to be tailored to your strengths, employment timeline, and to the company’s job description. 

If you have less than 1 year of work experience, you’re better off creating a functional resume. In contrast, if you’re someone who has up to 5 years of experience you can use a combination resume for a hybrid focus between your resume work experience and skills. 

But, if you’re a senior with tonnes of experience, you may use a chronological resume to list out all the relevant positions you’ve worked in to show you’re more than qualified. 

2. Resume Margins and Spacing

Your resume margins and spacing should be easy to read for both the ATS and human eye. 

However, you can actually fit more content in your resume without compromising too much if you adjust the formatting settings appropriately. If not, the appearance of your resume may change when it’s sent over to your employer. 

Margins should be 1 inch all around. The absolute lowest that's still readable is -0.5 inches. Any lower than half an inch makes it unreadable. 

3. Resume File Type 

All resumes and applications, including cover letters, should be saved as a PDF file with an appropriate file name. For a sensible, professional file name, just use your first name dash last name dash resume full stop PDF. For example, Astley-Cervania-Resume.PDF.

Every job document should be saved and backed up as a PDF. It’s good practice to save and download more than one copy in case anything happens. 

4. Resume Designs

Not all resume designs are tolerable by the ATS. That includes:

  • Resume icons
  • Graphs
  • Tables
  • Visual graphics
  • Colour
  • Text boxes

Although lines aren’t readable by the ATS, it makes your resume better formatted and scannable for a human reader. You’ll notice how this has been used in our list of best ATS resume examples.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to use this opportunity to be creative. Sometimes though, it’s better to keep it simple. 

5. One-page Resumes 

One-page resumes are more effective than two-page resumes when it comes to leaving an impression on your recruiter. 

It saves them time as it highlights your key attributes, which can increase your chances. 

That’s because they tend to be more concise and straight to the point, with your strengths being clearly noticeable. Since it’s free from fluff, the hiring manager can easily see what makes you hirable when they skim your resume. 

Here’s an example from Rezi’s Game Developer template:

Game Developer Resume
Game Developer Resume

We also have 267 cover letters and ATS templates where you’re almost guaranteed to find the job you’re looking for. Our editor inside the app is intuitive for users to insert and make changes where appropriate. 

If you’re already halfway through writing your own resume on a word document, we recommend opening this up on a new tab instead. 

Resume Writing Editing Process 

As opposed to the visual formatting of your ATS resume, the resume writing process means going through the contents of your resume. This needs to be worded and phrased in the best possible way in all sections so that you can present yourself as the ideal candidate to hire. 

It also means reading and checking through it carefully to catch any small errors made. 

6. Resume Spelling and Proofreading 

The grammar and spelling need to be correct. It’s one of the common resume mistakes job seekers make that can put your employers off from considering your application. If the ATS picks up any typos or even a single grammatical error, it’s a red flag for your hiring manager. 

7. ATS Resume Keywords 

Every company job board description is different and every hiring manager has different expectations. 

That means you need to customize and tailor your application specifically for them. 

In order to do that, you need to refer back to the job description when writing your resume and include the specific ATS resume keywords required. To find this, look out for any skills, jargon, job titles, qualifications that have been mentioned. 

These are requirements that the managers will be looking out for. At the very least, they’ll want to interview a candidate in the industry who is worth their time. The ATS pretty much controls the first round of applicants by narrowing down the list as it will only select those who match the job description. 

Or, you can get the full list of things you need to include in less than a minute using Rezi’s AI keyword targeting tool:

8. Resume Action Verbs

These are the words that describe an action taken and they’re positioned as the main focus in the sentence. It’s powerful to use in your work experience section to show how you’ve made a real difference and to emphasize your contribution in the workplace. 

As you proofread and check through your application, see if there are any of these words included. It’s good practice to use these when describing an activity, task, or responsibility. 

However, there are also weak resume action verbs you need to avoid. 

9. Resume Buzzwords

Buzzwords are used to emphasize your strengths. These can help you stand out by positioning yourself as a skilled candidate who knows what they are doing. Like your action verbs, these can be used to make a statement. 

If you use any of the overused buzzwords though, it may have a negative influence on your prospective employers. So, be careful when you’re applying any of these!

10. Active and Passive Voice 

Active voice positions you as the main subject. For example, in the sentence “I kicked the ball”, you position yourself as the main thing to focus on. 

Whereas, passive voice is the opposite. The main subject in passive voice would be the action that’s been taken. For example, “the ball was kicked by me”. 

Here’s a better example when it comes to resume writing:

  • Active voice: “we increased profit margins for our clients by 30%”
  • Passive voice: “the profit margins of our clients were increased by 30%”

See the difference between those two examples? 

There’s more emphasis on you when you use active voice but more emphasis on the action when you use passive voice. 

Using an active voice when talking about any results or achievements you’ve been responsible for is far more effective. It also provides more clarity and does a better job of showing your capability and expertise.

11. Achievements and Data

Any results or accomplishments you’ve been responsible for are good to include in your resume to show how you’ve directly made an impact. It’s also a good indicator to show you know what you’re doing. For example, in your education section, mention your grades and GPA if it’s higher than the average. 

It shows that you can do more than the bare minimum, which is one way to effectively communicate loud and clear how you can do the job at a good level. 

Whenever it’s applicable, you should be using statistics or data to support your claims. 

If you don’t have any, then at the very least use personal examples of an anecdote in your previous job position. 

12. Personalize To The Company and Job Description

Your resume isn’t designed to be tailored for the job position itself. It needs to be catered for the company you’re applying for too. For instance, use a resume summary and objectives section that aligns with their values. 

Every application should be personalized for the organization. It doesn’t matter if the job position is the same because every business operates differently.

How Can I Edit My Resume Online?

One way Rezi helps is by providing you with all the necessary tools. 

You can get instant feedback on what to edit on your resume by uploading your application and using Rezi’s AI real-time content analysis. Our resume checker will scan and review your resume then give you feedback for the best practices. 

With instructional tools like this, it’s easier to see what your resume is missing, what needs to be deleted, and how you can make it better. 

Here’s how it works:

It’s easy enough and doesn’t require much effort. Unlike having to do extensive research, you can immediately get a critique in a few minutes for each part of your resume based on what needs to be edited. Building your application becomes a more simplified process!

It’s also easy to sign up for a free account. Simply enter your email, create a password and you’ll have an account set up. 

Here’s what Avi had to say about Rezi after getting hired at Amazon:

“Rezi was a feature-rich minimal experience. They helped me focus on content instead of resume formatting and that was exactly what I needed to successfully get my foot in the door”

Final Piece of Advice

The purpose of your resume draft is to get it complete. Whereas, the objective of editing your resume is to make it perfect. 

If your first draft isn’t flawless, it’s okay because that’s what the editing process is for. But, if you’re still struggling to get into the right momentum, try starting off by using a proven template. It speeds up the job search process and helps you take control as you write each block of your resume. 

Use each of these steps when you edit a resume and you’ll have a powerful, impactful application that’s ready to go. Along the way, you may come across new ideas and inspiration which may help when rewriting different parts of your resume. 

And remember, if you found this guide useful be sure to hit the share button to help fellow job seekers in the community!

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